Hu Jintao is the paramount leader of China.
By suggesting, that not USA but China who should be intervening in Syria to oust Assad and quell civil war, Niall Ferguson has gone a step further in overestimating China’s economic rise.
According to him USA should not intervene in Syria for three reasons: first, it has found enough shale reserves to reduce its dependence on oil from Middle East; second, USA has cut its defence expenditure and it makes little sense for it to wage another war and balloon its expenditure in times of economic crisis; third, people in middle east hate USA even after it has freed them from tyrants like Saddam Hussain and Gaddafi (He thinks it was a favor by USA!)
These reasons plainly accept that USA went to war – mainly for oil.
Fergusson wants China to intervene because now it is the supreme economic power which uses 60% of its oil from the region without contributing to the region’s stability. He calls it a supreme free rider.
His argument is that if you are using the region’s resources, you should also shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the region’s peace.
Did USA bring peace to the region in its hegemonic quest that ravaged the region with frequent wars?
His article does not call for military intervention by China, but it implies the same when he suggests that world is ready for China’s role in maintaining world’s ‘security’.
The question is not who should intervene in Syria, but should anyone intervene at all?
Syria, eventhough led by a dictator and under whom it has plunged into a state of civil war, there is no justification for any other country to militarily intervene in the internal matters of a sovereign country. There are reasons to believe that unrest in Syria might have been fueled by Western powers i.e. tacitly by NATO.
Even if China is ready to intervene in Syria, it will only make matters worse for the rising superpower which wants the world to recognize it as a soft and responsible power. China is surrounded by a host of hostile neighbors thanks to its assertiveness in the region.
If it gets involved seriously in Syria’s affairs, the Western powers will only get wary of its intentions in the region and beyond. China will make more enemies than friends globally.
Though Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states who represent majority Sunni muslims in the region and produce world’s most of the oil wants Assad to go, they can not afford to give chance to another foreign country to assert its influence in the region.
GCC is wary of rising clout of Iran, a Shia majority country which is also a friend of Syria, which is led by a Shia minority. For western countries ousting Assad is beneficial in isolating Iran in the region and punish it for its nuclear adventurism.
China is not Iran’s bête noire. It has good working relationship with Iran and would like to keep it in good humor for it is gateway to central Asia where China’s real long term interests lay.
By arguing that China or any other country should take the responsibility in interfering in the Middle East to solve its problems is irresponsible and lacks logic.
Instead, UN should be given prominent role in resolving the crisis, at the same time both Russia and Western powers should stop arming both government and opposition troops respectively.
Geopolitics should be guided by the motive of providing peace to the region, not economic exploitation.
In reality, hegemony by any country fails to establish peace, instead gives rise to discordance and unrest as is evident in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.
Any military intervention will wreck havoc in the financial markets of the world as it may lead to limited oil supplies and enrage Iran into action further exasperating the matter.
A peaceful solution, howsoever slow it is, is desirable at the moment. A democratic transition of the type happened in Egypt will be good for Syria. Any change will bring Sunnis into prominence, with it Islamist forces to the fore. But the world should learn to accept and respect diversity in political and religious ideologies to have a peaceful coexistence.